Well, that was an unfortunate, if predictable, end to what turned into a fun season. It’s difficult for me to be disappointed though. For starters, they played a 106 win Dodgers team. They faced Max Scherzer. If they could figure out a way to get a hit with runners in scoring position, they probably win. When you’re as much of an underdog as the Cardinals were, it’s just not really possible for me to be disappointed with a loss.
In the meantime, there is still baseball left to be played. I know there will be people complaining about Mike Shildt’s decisions and I am not here to do that. I have no interest in writing that article, mostly because I don’t really think he actually affected the outcome of the game. The Cardinals didn’t score. That’s the story. Can’t win, usually, when you score one run. So no, I am not interested in Monday morning quarterbacking that game. If your pitching has to be literally flawless to win, it’s not the pitching’s fault and its not the manager’s fault, it’s the hitter’s.
Oh one thing I do want to complain about though: Ron Darling and Brian Anderson. They were awful. It was like playing MLB the Show, and hearing the announcers just return to the same phrases over and over. I was getting unreasonably annoyed every time Anderson said “he buckled his knees” just because someone threw a curveball for a strike. The hitter’s knees aren’t buckling Brian! He said it like five times.
Two steals illustrate my annoyance perfectly. On one, Cody Bellinger stole off Yadier Molina. Molina threw a one-hopper to Edman, with the ball hitting his glove right where you want to hit his glove so he can just put the glove down and tag with ease. He was safe, but not because of the throw. Anderson claimed it was a bad throw. You know because it hit the ground I guess. Later, Will Smith tried to throw out Edman. It was a bad throw, but since it was in the air and was caught without hitting the ground, Anderson tried to claim it was a good throw. Brewers fans think he’s good somehow. I just saw no evidence he understands baseball.
Then he later claimed Bellinger’s steal was a key steal. IT DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! THEY DIDN’T SCORE. THE STEAL WAS WORTHLESS! I mean it wasn’t literally worthless, you know, but in no way, shape or form was it a key steal. He said Tyler O’Neill got jammed. The ball was outside. And he hit it to right field. DO YOU KNOW WHAT GETTING JAMMED MEANS, BRIAN? And if I got a dollar for every time they said “go ahead run,” I’d have enough money to pay TBS to never hire them again.
Ron Darling, who may have said one of these things above, I’m going from memory here, is apparently a blathering idiot when released in the wild from the Mets broadcasts, where I really don’t mind him. But last night was just brutal. I don’t have any specific quotes, just it was very, very obvious the dude knew basically nothing about the Cardinals. Probably the Dodgers too. I obviously know more about the Cards than Dodgers so I’m less qualified for that.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a quick rundown on the four playoff series happening, starting tonight with the two American League Division Series. The pros and cons of them winning, and who ultimately I will choose to root for.
Pro to rooting for: I’m going to be honest. I am embarrassingly unfamiliar with the White Sox, but I know a lot of Cards fans are putting them as the team to root for. Lance Lynn and Tony La Russa is probably enough for them. Tim Anderson is fun. Just glancing at the roster, not a whole lot of people you’d really root against, which is like half of the problem with rooting for other teams.
Cons: I still kind of think hiring TLR was stupid. There is a part of me that thinks... this should be not be rewarded. This isn’t enough for me to root against them, it’s more a devil’s advocate position. I truly have no positive or negative feelings about the White Sox whatsoever.
Pro: I’m coming up blank here guys, I cannot think of a single reason to root for the Astros.
Con: Not necessarily the sign stealing so much as how they reacted to getting caught. The culture of the front office that led to Brandon Taubman. Getting Roberto Osuna in general after pretending they cared about character. And of course, for popularizing the strip down rebuild, which has let’s say misled fans into thinking that’s what every mediocre team should do.
Who to root for: I myself may not have a genuine rooting interest in the White Sox in general terms, but come on. They are playing the Astros. It’s the White Sox no question.
Pros: I am once again at a loss.
Cons: Boston fans, I’m sorry that Bill Simmons is your representative. But here’s the thing. He is your representative fan for a reason. You guys suck and deserve no happiness. You’ve won enough. You should have another 80 year drought.
Pros: I’m not real big on rooting for former Cardinals if you didn’t guess from the White Sox blurb, but Randy Arozarena and Michael Wacha are on the team. I wish I could hate the Pirates or even dislike them, because the Chris Archer trade would be giving me a lot of joy right now. Wander Franco.
Cons: They are cheap. If you are one to both complain about the Cardinals being cheap and rooting for the Rays, this is a bit of a contradiction. It’s kind of fun how they’re always good with no money, but also screw them for never spending money!
Who to root for: ALL THAT SAID, if you root for the Red Sox, you are a recently converted Cardinal fan or very, very young. Because nobody my age is rooting for the Red Sox. I easily rooted for the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game.
Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Pros: Winning the World Series after losing their best player and potentially their best pitcher (Mike Soroka) would be a very good story. Freddie Freeman is also pretty damn likable. Freeman, Acuna, and Albies is kind of annoyingly likable core they have going there.
Cons: Marcell Ozuna would get a ring. That’s a downside. Oh yeah and the Tomahawk Chop. Yeah. That’s... that’s a pretty big con for me.
Pros: I’d be happy if Kolten Wong won a ring.
Cons: They just got so damn lucky. Like every midseason move they made worked out as good as it possibly could have. I am annoyed they got Willy Adames for peanuts. I am annoyed three of their starters turned into aces. And I’d be disappointed if they won just because I’m pretty sure the Cards could have handled them BUT WE’LL NEVER KNOW.
Who to root for: I’m annoyed at Braves fans for making me root for the Brewers, but you’ve given me little choice.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
Pro: They are the best team. If you want the best team to win, this is your choice. Max Scherzer as well.
Cons: Yeah they’re in danger of going on a Yankees level run of championships if they are not stopped. They are that well run of an organization. Julio Urias is someone to root against. Trevor Bauer will get a ring if they win.
Pro: They are an undeniably fun story with a bunch of random guys teaming with old guys to produce maybe the most unlikeliest best record in baseball ever.
Cons: Oh I’ve been waiting for this. cracks knuckles
How the hell the Cardinals got the devil magic moniker and not the freaking Giants is something I will never understand. None of their three championships in the 2010s had even close to the best team. This current team is the most random great team I’ve ever witnessed. And Giants fans have the audacity - the audacity - to join in with other fans and complain about Cardinals devil magic. I’M TALKING TO YOU GRANT BRISBEE.
Idk it just annoys the ever living shit out of me that some select Giants fans sort of join in on the Cardinals hate as if they are the freaking Pirates when there is no legitimate reason Giants fans should hate Cardinals fan. Not one. Is it because we win a lot? Well it hasn’t translated to championships in a while! Why should they care that the Cards win between 85-95 wins for the past 10 years? We’re not even in your division. Every time we meet in the playoffs, you guys win. You are not everybody else. Most fans have a legitimate beef against the Cards. You are not one of them.
Who you should root for - Well you should root for the Giants, but I just can’t. I can’t. I do not want them to win a ring again. If the Dodgers win, at least it will remove the “Mickey Mouse ring” thing which would be a fair criticism if it was literally any other team than the Dodgers who actually have been the best team in baseball for a while! Man... I don’t like any of the NL teams! I understand why Cards fans have adopted the White Sox after going through these teams. This is bleak, my friends.
So there you have it. Me rambling with a few rants thrown in. Probably offended a few fanbases along the way. You guys already hate Cards fans, whatever. I personally think we, collectively as Cards fans, need to embrace the heel. Yankees fans have it right. Let the hate flow within you.